We all have challenges while working in an organization as part of a team. To get our work done, we need to coordinate with other employees in the company. It isn't easy to satisfy everyone, but we need to meet our team members at least halfway.
The average number of working hours per week is 40 hours. It might not seem much considering a week contains 168 hours, but spending eight hours a day together for five days at a stretch can be challenging, especially when you have to deal with difficult people.
Although most people in a company's workforce are easy to get along with, there are always a few difficult people. Here, we take a closer look at difficult situations in the workplace and offer a solution to each scenario.
Political loyalties between people in the United States tend to be highly divisive. Most people are ready to share their opinions on state and local politics with anyone prepared to listen. It can create an awkward atmosphere in the workplace.
According to Heather Engen, head of a department at Fujitsu Americas, their company attempts to recognize diversity regularly. Political discussions are not discouraged, but rather than focusing on partisanship, the participants are encouraged to look at progress.
Political discussions are inevitable during social events, such as at a team dinner. Engen says that a mediator intervenes and changes the subject if the conversation starts to get heated. More experienced team members who are familiar with each other will be less likely to tread on toes.
Maintain the Safe Zone
The founder of Kenneth Michael Consulting Services in New York City, Ken Schlechter, says that he tries to make the workplace a safe zone. People tend to get heated up during political discussions, so he handles such situations by walking away or saying nothing.
Schlechter further adds that you don’t have any jurisdiction over what employees discuss outside office hours. There is every likelihood that, once employees start returning to the workplace, many discussions will be about the pros and cons of returning to work.
A policy needs to be in place for political discussions, and consequences should exist for violating the policy. Ed Hasan, CEO and managing partner of Kaizen Human Capital, feels that you should anticipate emotional responses to diffuse awkward situations.
Hasan cites an incident where an employee was rooting for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in a heated discussion. He didn’t know that a colleague had a relative in Mexico. The fact was brought to his attention, and the debate ended with hugs.
Open Office – No Privacy
Open-plan offices are a common occurrence in large corporations and save a lot of money. But such a setup can be counterproductive, especially while working with difficult colleagues. Employees’ physical and mental health can suffer, and it can impact their productivity.
A study conducted by Harvard Business school revealed that open-plan offices lead to a reduction in communication by 70%. People tend to experience fatigue and a sense of overload due to the constant noise. It also results in an increase in absences due to illness.
The case against open offices has built up based on the following disadvantages:
Privacy is compromised
- There is mistrust due to inadequate security.
- The lack of physical barriers spreads infections more easily.
- Hierarchy and specialization break down.
- There is a high level of distraction from co-workers
The main downside of an open-office system is the invasion of privacy. There are four aspects to privacy. The first aspect is acoustic, where noise levels affect concentration; the next is visual, where your work gets impacted by what you see; next is the spatial aspect, which is characterized by a lack of personal space; and, finally, the last aspect is lack of personal privacy, which prevents private conversations.
Zone your Office
There should be a few rooms allocated for private meetings that are part of the workspace but distinctly cordoned off. Conversely, breakout areas should exist where employees can go to “let off steam” and make a bit of noise without disturbing their working colleagues.
Install Soft Furnishings
You can make the office a more peaceful place by investing in sound-absorbing soft furnishings. Carpeted flooring will also have a fantastic effect on dampening the background noise.
Provide Individual Desks
Provide everyone with their own desk. The “hot desking” policy being adopted by many companies causes a feeling of insecurity to employees who have to move around like nomads. Everyone likes a place to call their own, even at work.
In an open-office space, creating visual privacy is essential. There are many ways to do this. You can go in for screen privacy filters. Another good idea is to position desks to make it difficult for co-workers to see each other’s screens.
Temperature Wars Flare
There is a constant battle between employees over the office thermostat. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by OpenWorks, a commercial cleaning company, three out of five employees tamper with the air conditioner’s settings without consulting their colleagues.
Although the ideal temperature inside an air-conditioned office is estimated to be 71°F, no two employees seem to agree on a particular temperature.
Some facility managers even go to the extent of installing dummy thermostats. Although it is an unethical practice, it works. Employees perform better when they have the impression that they can control their physical environment.
The Best Solution
The best solution is the evaLIGHTplus personal air cooler. You can place this portable device on your desk and feel comfortable as you work without inconveniencing others.
The evaLIGHTplus personal air cooler is an evaporative air cooler that cools the surrounding air through water's natural evaporation.
The evaLIGHTplus personal air cooler runs from a USB port. The temperature around the cooler will drop by 4°C to 17°C. It will not disturb the other people around you but is effective up to four square meters.
This cooler from Evapolar does not only cool the air but works as a humidifier and purifier as well. It does not give off odors due to the humidity because the pads are made of inorganic nanofibers, rather than cellulose. Hence, there is no chance of mold and bacteria accumulating.
Scents and Sensitivity at the Workplace
We attempt to make our offices accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, we also tend to place more emphasis on physical barriers like stairs, doors, and restroom accessibility and neglect the inconvenience of odors from deodorants and perfumes.
Asthma patients and allergy sufferers can experience adverse reactions due to strong odors. It can even hamper their productivity.
While completely removing odors and fragrances from the air in the workplace may not be possible, a policy can be put in place requesting employees not to use strong-smelling products.
You can take the following measures for an employee who is genuinely allergic to strong odors and fragrances:
- Relocate the employee’s workstation to a more convenient location in an area with a low level of odors and fragrances.
- Ensure proper air filtration near the employee.
- Provide a desk fan or personal air cooler.
- Arrange for the employee’s workspace to be enclosed.
- Grant permission for the employee to work flexible hours and telework, as required.
- Grant special permission for the employee to take breaks for fresh air and medication.
- Offer the employee the option of wearing a mask.
Humidity and Air Quality
In light of the recent (and ongoing) pandemic, air quality has never been more in the limelight at office spaces and homes as it has now. We’ve all become more aware of the importance of maintaining the right level of humidity and air quality since we’ve begun working remotely.
Providing good air quality at the office keeps employees in good health and at less risk of getting airborne infections. It can reduce the incidence of sick leave and improve employee morale too.
Humidifier or Dehumidifier
Depending on the circumstances, you can install devices that increase or decrease the humidity in the air. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are readily available on the market. It would be wise to get both of them installed so that either option is available to you when required.
Upgrade Your Air-Filtration System
The focus of an air-conditioning system tends to only be on the cooling aspect. However, you also need to ensure that the inside air gets filtered adequately. If required, you can have your air-filtration system upgraded to provide fresher air for healthier employees.
Personal Air Conditioners or Cooling Devices
As we mentioned above, the evaLIGHTplus personal air cooler can prove to be a savior when you need cooling as well as humidifying. A personal air cooler like evaLIGHTplus can provide individual solutions to employees at a reasonable price.
These are the five least common problems that employees face when they work near each other in an organization. Each employee has their individual set of preferences, and you can't satisfy everyone.
You have made progress if you can just identify these issues. Now you need to find a solution to each problem. If you keep an open mind and exercise flexibility, you will be able to solve these problems and subsequently boost your employees' morale.
The evaLIGHTplus personal cooler can solve most of these problems by providing a comfortable temperature and humidity levels, with minimum exposure to odors and strong fragrances. Combine the benefits with the solutions we have highlighted here, and you will lead a workforce of contented employees.